Unexpected situations, such as a sudden illness, pay reduction, and other sudden financial circumstances can place significant burdens on people’s finances. Hard-working people can find they have fallen behind on mortgage payments or other debts from which they cannot seem to get out from underneath. People who may not know where else to turn have regained confidence and peace of mind in contacting our experienced Tampa bankruptcy lawyers at the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A. We have extensive experience in guiding Florida residents through the bankruptcy process and helping them obtain the fresh financial start they need.
Bankruptcy Process — The Initial Consultation
Our attorneys provide advice and counsel to people seeking information about the bankruptcy process. In your free initial consultation, we answer questions, and we educate you about the advantages and disadvantages of filing for bankruptcy, evaluate your financial situation to determine if bankruptcy is an appropriate option, and advise you of whether a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the most appropriate debt relief option based upon your situation.
Preparing Your Bankruptcy Case
After the initial consultation, our bankruptcy lawyers will explain to you how easy the process can be for you. After collecting some documents from you, we will handle all paperwork on your behalf.
Filing Your Bankruptcy Petition
Chapter 7 bankruptcy: Once your Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition is prepared, a subsequent consultation will be made to review your bankruptcy documents. Our attorneys carefully explain the documents, they are signed, and they are filed electronically with the Bankruptcy Court. Once your bankruptcy petition has been filed with the court, the court notifies all creditors of the petition that has been filed and advises creditors that they are not permitted to take any further action to collect on your debts, including pursuing litigation, garnishing wages, proceeding with foreclosure actions, or any other collection efforts. This is called the automatic stay.
After your Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition is filed, the court will schedule a meeting with an individual known as the bankruptcy trustee in approximately 30 days after the petition is filed. The trustee is responsible for verifying accuracy of documents supplied to the court and ensuring all debts are listed. Our bankruptcy lawyers will ensure that you are thoroughly prepared for this meeting with the trustee. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the meeting with the bankruptcy trustee (a meeting that lasts approximately 15 minutes) is usually the only time petitioners will need to go to court. Usually, people filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will receive a final discharge (court order) releasing them from all dischargeable unsecured debt approximately 120 days after the bankruptcy petition is filed.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy: When your bankruptcy petition is ready to be filed with the court, a written plan will be created which will document how you will deal with your debt, including how much debt you will need to repay, how secured debt will be addressed, and the duration of your repayment period — between 36 and 60 months. This repayment plan is filed with and approved by the Bankruptcy Court and in approximately 30 days, you will begin making your first monthly payment in accordance with the repayment plan. If your circumstances should change, such as if your income significantly changes or if you no longer wish to keep certain secured debt provided for in your plan, it is possible to modify the amount of your payment and how you are going to address certain secured debt or repay secured debt.
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Contact a Tampa Bankruptcy Lawyer
Attorney Robert M. Geller is a certified specialist in Consumer Bankruptcy Law by the American Board of Certification *. If you have additional questions about the bankruptcy process or would like to consult with an attorney about your case, please contact our Tampa, Florida, law firm. Call us at 813-254-5696 to schedule a free initial consultation.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.
* Accredited by The Florida Bar to certify lawyers in the specialty area(s) of consumer bankruptcy law.